New Vo-Tech School Is Political Pay-Back

New Vo-Tech School Is Political Pay-Back

By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist

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? When the governing body of any municipality or of any county desires to ascertain the sentiment of the legal voters of the municipality or county upon any question or policy pertaining to the government or internal affairs thereof . . . the governing body may adopt at any regular meeting . . . a resolution requesting the clerk of the county to print upon the official ballots to be used at the next ensuing general election.
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(New Jersey Statutes 19:37-1)

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??? Last week, five Atlantic County freeholders (Republicans Silipena, Curcio, Giordano, and Sutton, and Democrat Garrett) voted to cancel a proposed non-binding referendum on borrowing $40 million for a new Vocational Technical High School in Mays Landing.? The other four voted to have it. (Those four were all current or retired public school teachers: Republicans Dase, McDevitt, Russo, and Democrat Cooper.)
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??? After this 5-4 vote, Vo-Tech Superintended Phil Guenther said he would “meet as soon as possible with Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson to start the process of bonding (borrowing)”.?? County property taxes would pay $24 million.?? The other $16 million would come out of $3.9 billion to be borrowed by state government.??
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??? But our local daily newspaper overlooked two details that make this far from a done deal.
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??? First, the state borrowing is shaky.?? Article 8, Section 2 of the New Jersey State Constitution bars the state from borrowing money without a vote of the people.?? During the past eleven years, the state piled up $27 billion of debt without such votes by setting up dummy entities like the NJ EDA (Economic Development Authority) to borrow the money.?? Republicans and Democrats in the legislature then “voluntarily” raised taxes every year to make the payments for these insolvent authorities.?? But future legislators have no legal or moral obligation to keep doing this.
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??? Sometime during the 30 lives of these junk bonds, you voters (or your kids) will elect state senators and assembly people who will repudiate (refuse to pay) this unconstitutional debt.?? And long before that happens Wall Street will get spooked and stop investing in new NJ junk debt.
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??? Second, Atlantic County Government can not borrow a dime without adopting a bond ordinance.?? And that can’t be done without the votes of six freeholders (2/3 of the full board).?? See the NJ Local Bond Law (NJSA 40A:2-17).
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??? The new $40 million Vo-Tech school can not move forward unless at least one of the four pro-referendum freeholders switches and votes to borrow the money without it.?? Who is most likely to cave??? Will it be one of the three Republicans – Rich Dase, Joe McDevitt, Tom Russo??? Will it be Democrat Alisa Cooper??? Or will they all hold firm, and force a referendum.??? That is up to you!
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??? If you keep quiet, only the money will talk.?? You can bribe and bully a lot of people with 40 million bucks!?? How do you think this ridiculously extravagant project got so far in just two months??? If you want McDevitt, Dase, Russo and Cooper to stand up for you, start standing up for them!?? And do it quick!?? And loud!
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??? But don’t forget to talk to other Atlantic County Republican officials like Dennis Levinson, Vince Polistina, John Amodeo – and the four Republicans freeholders who voted not to have a referendum.
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??? Roy Foster is president of the Atlantic-Cape May County AFL-CIO Central Labor Council.?? He is the biggest booster of this project.?? Maureen Gallagher Bugdon and Keith Davis are the co-chairpersons of the Atlantic County Republican Organization.?? Last year, Foster’s union people helped Republicans take control of local government in Hamilton Township (Mays Landing) and switch Atlantic County Freeholder Frank Giordano from Democrat to Republican.
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??? My take is that Bugdon and Davis now want to use your tax money to return those favors.?? They claim that Republicans need Foster?s union support to win elections in Atlantic County.?? But Maureen Gallagher Bugdon is also president of the Atlantic City Race Course in Mays Landing, and Keith Davis is its attorney.?? The Race Course is only open six days a year.?? Its owners could use some casino horse-racing subsidy money from Trenton Democrats now – and some local zoning changes from Hamilton Township for when the horse-racing is done.
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??? Atlantic County Republicans should be asking: are Maureen Gallagher-Bugdon and Keith Davis doing what is best for the party and the public??? Or what is best for the Race Course?
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For more information, visit www.libertyandprosperity.org or contact Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman at grossman@snip.net or 609-927-7333.??? Seth Grossman hosts a two way talk radio program every Saturday from 8am – 9am on WVLT Vineland, 92.1 FM.

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